Monday, July 11, 2005

Is It Over?

Well, it looks like this past weekend beat last year's comparable weekend, and the "bad" box office "slump" is over.

That doesn't prevent Box Office Mojo from continuing the negative fight, however. The box office numbers website can't resist taking a jab at War of the Worlds with one of those misleading statistics--percent of audience dropoff. The movie lost over half of its audience from last week, which sounds terrible until you realize that the movie made $30 million, which is a great opening weekend for 98% of films out there. This film was made for $132 million, and has made $267 million worldwide in two weeks. I'm from the South here, but that seems like a marginal profit to me. Perhaps it's my fuzzy math. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks the film will eek out enough dollars to break even. Barely anyone is seeing it.

Oh yeah, and the movie makes over $60 million in its opening weekend (not counting the Wednesday and Thursday business), and it's considered a failure in breaking the slump, but Fantastic Four makes $56 million and it's "burning up the box office"? Fuck you.

In this continued, baffling, "news item" of 2005 concerning box office, negativity has reached its all-time low. Now that the streak is over, newspapers and sites like BOM will probably continue to report slumps in terms like, "19 out of the last 21 weeks, box office grosses have been beaten by last year's similar time periods." The industry is $500 million behind last year. When you speak in terms of billions, that's not much at all. And it's still the wrong way to judge a business.

I am going to continue to be the voice of dissent on this, however small a voice it is. I would offer to have an intelligent debate about this with someone with an opposing view who thinks they are smart on this matter, but I'm afraid that my total victory is assured, and these assholes wouldn't have anything to write about once I got done with them. They'd have to go out and find stories that actually carry some weight, or derive opinions based on exhaustive research, and that would be too much for the average John Q writer. I say it here and now, anyone who has covered the box office slump and continues to report in this misleading fashion is no better than Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass.


At 7/12/2005 12:06:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Ahh, I just think most reporters are lazy. This isn't actually making up a source like Blair or Glass. Now that took action!

At 7/12/2005 07:52:00 AM, Blogger MaraJade said...

Shattered Glass. . .I forgot about that. Man, that was stressful. One of those nail biters where you're so embarassed for the main character that you can barely watch.

anyway, good luck fighting the system there. ;)

At 7/12/2005 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Yeah, it's not making up a source, but it's certainly making up news. It paints a picture that I feel is overall false.

And thanks, MaraJade! I hope someday the U.S. will come to my aid with food and munitions!

At 7/12/2005 08:33:00 AM, Blogger MaraJade said...

No problem. :)

And hey, I just noticed there's a link to my blog in your sidebar. It was the religion post that put me in with the worthy wasn't it? ;) Kidding.
That's so great. Thanks a lot guys.

At 7/12/2005 12:22:00 PM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Just remember, you can use statistics to prove anything. 17% of all people know that.

Great post, by the way.

At 7/12/2005 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

And freaking Variety plagerizes Chris again!!!

They have an article on their website entitled "Despite Slump, Studios Get A Bump." It's first line is "The major studios aren't in trouble at the box office."

Now, first of all, Variety is one of the publications that has already run a number of articles about the supposed slump. They also later ran an article mentioning all the reasons why the "slump" might not be as bad as thought. Now they're saying there is no slump at all.

Seems Variety writes whatever they want, shifting their opinions with the wind.

Here's a quote from the article, which basically is saying that overall, box office dollars from this year are HIGHER than last year. "Thanks to a potent first quarter that has offset a weak summer, the majors and mini-majors, have taken in $4.333 billion at the domestic box office. Through the same point in 2004, their receipts had amounted to $4.301 billion."

So all this slump talk, in addition to being premature and based soley on week to week comparisons. That means they compare a specific weekend from this summer (July 4th weekend, for instance) to the same dates from the previous year. And that's what the slump is. The slump is that 19 weeks in a row the box office receipts were lower than the identical weekend from the previous year.

Overall, though, Hollywood has made more money at this point in the calendar year of 2005 than they made last year from Jan 1 to July 11.

So what's the big freaking deal?! Why do these bastards have to keep crying "wolf" about a slump that doesn't even exist?

Glad you's the answer: they're morons, idiots, jerks, and child molesters.

Okay, maybe not that last one. But the other three titles are all appropriate.

Good post, Chris. As usual, I agree with your take on this completely.

At 7/12/2005 11:41:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Maybe they're not morons. A lot of places will want to pretend like they have problems just to get help from the gov't. Just saying...

And yes, Marajade, we were happy to link to you. You comment enough that we almost had to! Thanks!

At 7/12/2005 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I almost wish I could disagree; Chris and I could get into some interesting well written debates if we ever freaking disagreed on anything. But I agree completely, wholeheartedly. Chris is a genius, and I've read a good portion of his novel, and this thing is freaking awesome. It's got a serious Vonnegut vibe going on in it. And I'm not saying he's copying; it's actually like nothing I have ever read, but if you have to make a comparison, Kurt Vonnegut would be a good one. I can't wait to finish it.

As for the box office slump thing; it's stupid. It's bad news telling, and it's irrelevant. Why not just write about how bad the movies have been this year. You could tackle every genre, and just go to town. I had a lot of hope for movies in the new millenium especially after 1999 was being compared to the previous golden year of film, 1939. But every year since then has progressively gotten worse in the overall outlook. If anything has a bearing on bad box office this year it is that. It is most definately that.


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